Considering President Barack Obama’s track record of nominating liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, Democrats will be expecting much the same if there’s another vacancy regardless of whose seat becomes vacant. But since those 2009 and 2010 confirmations, the party has now lost more a dozen seats. And both the court — and the Senate — have become sharply more partisan. Now, the court is set to reconsider Democrats’ most substantial achievement in Obamacare, a challenge to the law’s subsidies that Republicans believe stands a real chance of being overturned.
Add it all up and there are very real Democratic worries that the first GOP-controlled Senate during Obama’s presidency could spell major difficulties not only for confirmation of a new liberal justice, but for Democrats’ hard-fought legislative legacies of the last six years.
In interviews with 10 Senate Democrats across the party’s ideological spectrum, senators declined to second-guess Ginsburg’s decision to stay on into the GOP majority.